NEWS FROM AND ABOUT AFRICA
October 2015, Volume 13-5

Africa (African Elephant)

African Elephants – The updated African Elephant Database reveals declining elephant populations. “Definite” plus “Probable” African Elephant numbers have decreased from approximately 550,000 to 470,000 between 2006 and 2013, according to the African Elephant SG’s latest update of the African Elephant Database (AED). The AED is the repository of African Elephant survey data from range state governments, NGOs, and other sources of expertise. These new data alongside information on the sources of the elephant number estimates, the areas they cover, and the various survey types represented can be viewed here.

Africa (African Buffalo)

GNUSLETTER Special Issue Number 1, is exclusively dedicated to the African buffalo. Includes summaries of all lectures given during Buffalo Day at the African Buffalo Symposium, organized by the IGF Foundation in Paris last November. For this special issue, sixteen recent publications on ecology, health and genetics of the African buffalo are presented as summaries. A selection of original publications has also been incorporated. There is also a selection of pictures that illustrates the diversity of the four sub-species of the African buffalo.

European Union – Africa (Elephant and Lion Trophy Imports)

The European Union Scientific Review Group (SRG) adopted on 15 September 2015 opinions on the import into the EU of a number of CITES-listed species. SRG agreed to maintain its negative opinion with regard to the import of elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania and Mozambique, while agreeing on a positive opinion for the import of elephant trophies from Zambia. The authorities from Zambia provided extensive information to the SRG on elephant population numbers from an aerial survey conducted in 2013 in Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi, indicating that the population size was estimated at more than 33 000 for these three ecosystems, with an increasing trend. They also indicated that a new survey was on-going, and communicated information on their hunting trophy management scheme, whereby 80 elephant trophies can be exported per year under a number of conditions. The SRG confirmed its previous opinions that the import of hunting trophies from lions from Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique would continue to be subject to strict scrutiny. The SRG maintained its opinion that each import of hunting trophies of lions from Zambia should be assessed on a case by case basis. In relation to the import of hunting trophies of lions from Tanzania, the SRG maintained its current positive opinion but indicated that clarification would be needed from Tanzania that the national lion hunting quota would be set according to scientific recommendations. The SRG also encouraged Tanzania to continue to apply its age restriction system. The SRG will review the situation at its first meeting in 2016 based on the response from the Tanzanian authorities regarding their national hunting quota for lions. The SRG also maintained that each application for import of lion hunting trophies from Mozambique should be assessed case by case basis. Download the full document HERE .

Namibia

Chief Erwin Munika Mbambo of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority recently told reporters of The Namibian that too much land had been allocated for national parks in the Kavango East region (e. g. Mahango and Bwabwata National Parks) and should rather be put to better use as these areas are suited for cultivating food. The Hambukushu chief is known for his anti-conservancies and conservation stance, and his constituency in Kavango is the only region in northeast Namibia where conservancies have not been allowed to form. Apparently the chief forces lodge operators to pay him rent instead of allowing a conservancy to form and be the benefactor of tourism revenues. It is also said that chief Mbambo is extremely tribalistic and known for his attempts to dominate and suppress other groups (especially the San). His actions have been detrimental to the western part of Bwabwata National Park, where the chief has continually promoted illegal settlement.

Nigeria

“Persistence in anti-poaching patrolling pays off” according to Inaoyom Imong, Director of the Cross River Landscape. In one year, patrols through the Oban Division of the Cross River National Park (CRNP) Nigeria, have cleared almost 1,000 snares and hundreds of empty shotgun cartridges, discovered 45 hunting camps and arrested half a dozen poachers. But perhaps the cherry on the cake has been the visual confirmation of Critically Endangered Preuss’s Red Colobus (Procolobus preussi) living in the Oban.  Read more

South Africa

In late 2014 a ground-breaking debate took place. The parties in favor of the legalization of the trade in rhinos and rhino products were Dawie Roodt and Braam Malherbe. The parties against legalization of trade in rhinos and rhino products were Ian Michler and Colin Bell. Advocate Jacques Joubert, from Mediation in Motion, mediated the debate. Advocate Paul Hoffman, SC, from the Institute of Accountability in Southern Africa (IFAISA) – which campaigns as “Accountability Now” – took part and provided wise council when needed and summarized the debate’s conclusion. The outcome after many hours of often heated debate was that all members on both sides of the rhino horn trade lobbies have agreed to forge a new pragmatic partnership that brings together their combined energies, with the aim of creating a unified rhino survival strategy that unites all stakeholders behind a common purpose – to ensure the long-term survival of rhino in the wild. Read the entire article at http://accountabilitynow.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/The-Integrated-Rhino-Poaching-Strategy-The-Plan_20150708.pdf

South Africa

Vol13_6_art10Breeding and trophy mania soared to new heights with the sale on 12 September 2015 of a 66⅝” kudu bull called Hercules at R9.4m (ca. 700,000 USD)! Observe that the critter has a name – just like the late Cecil from Hwange. The delighted seller said that “the reinvigorated kudu market has great potential for development.” One wonders what kind of development he has in mind – except that of horn length “especially for kudus above 60” and money generated from selling breeding material to “investors”. How often Hercules has been darted and manhandled to get the indeed impressive horn measurements at different stages during his life is not reported. When Hercules reaches the end of his (breeding) value, he will undoubtedly be offered as trophy; but who except a breeder wants to call the result of intensive breeding a trophy?

Tanzania

A Chinese national dubbed the “Queen of Ivory” has been arrested in Tanzania. Yang Feng Glan, 66, was arrested after returning from Uganda to Tanzania. She has been charged with smuggling 706 elephant tusks with a street value of $2.5 million and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2015/10/queen-of-elephant-ivory-trafficking-arrested-in-tanzania/

Zambia

The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is conducting aerial surveys of elephants and other large herbivores in three of Zambia’s national parks and neighboring conserved areas. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is facilitating the training of ZAWA ecologists on data collection and organizing the approximately 258 hours of flight time over the course of four weeks. It will be months before see the full results of the survey come out. News about elephants is rarely good news anymore. But whatever the data shows, knowing the truth can only help us. Not only can reliable figures educate people and encourage funding for ZAWA and wildlife-focused NGOs, it will allow ZAWA to use its resources most effectively. See the full article HERE.

Zimbabwe

Hwange is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying roughly 14 650 square kilometers. It is one of THE places to see elephants in Africa. According to the 2015 pan-African census it is home to 44,000 elephants, roughly 50% of Zimbabwe’s elephant population. And therein lays the dilemma. Actually it is not Hwange’s dilemma. What to do about Hwange is a dilemma for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA).

Read more at http://www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com/hwanges-dilemma/ and at http://safaritalk.net/topic/15273-hwanges-dilemma/